Stricter lockdown restrictions are looming unless there is a decline in coronavirus cases in South Africa. Health and governmental officials have warned South Africans that the spike in COVID-19 cases is a bad indicator of a second wave.
Sihle Zikalala, premier of KwaZulu-Natal, said the threat of a hard lockdown is real during a media briefing on Sunday, October 25.
“Looking at the statistics, we can now safely say that we are definitely going back into a hard lockdown if there is no urgent and drastic change in behaviour,” said Zikalala.
A second wave is predicted to be stronger and deadlier – not only in with deaths, but also in terms of economic hardship.
“There is no use in chasing profits today, only to be shut down by a hard lockdown tomorrow,” he said. The premier also added that the “reckless” trade of alcohol has the potential to derail the progress South Africa’s healthcare system has made in preparing for the potential onslaught of COVID-19.
“We cannot tolerate that, and therefore our inspectors will be going out in full force to enforce the law,” Zikalala said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is also expected to address the nation this week about the rising number of COVID-19 cases. As of Sunday, October 25, the country’s new cases have risen by 1622, bringing the total number of cases across South Africa to 715 868.
Last week, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize raised concerns about an apparent spike in the country’s number of COVID-19 cases.
“As government, we have a responsibility to alert you when we see concerning trends. It would be irresponsible of us to ignore ‘small flames’ that we see redeveloping in some parts of the country,” he said at the time. “I wish to bring to the attention of all South Africans that our epidemiological reports are showing that in the country, over the last seven days there has been an increase of 9.1% in new cases. Similarly, over the last 14 days, there has been an increase of 10.7%.”
He also noted a marked increase in the number of cases in the Western Cape, and called the rise in cases a “resurgence”.
“The Western Cape Provincial Health Department has identified specific clusters that are responsible for the increase in cases, and has advised that each of these clusters has been investigated and a detailed outbreak response is being mounted,” Mkhize said. “We have noted that the single biggest cluster outbreak has been identified to be in the Southern Sub-district in the Cape Metro, and this has been associated with a super-spreader event in a bar. We await further reports from the Western Cape health response teams who are now required to target the sub-districts with a high increase of new cases over the last two weeks.”
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